Preamble and the salient features of the Constitution of India

The Constitution of India was framed by a Constituent Assembly.

This Assembly was an indirectly elected body.

The Constitution–

The document containing laws and rules which determine and describe the form of the government, the relationship between the citizens and the government, is called a Constitution.

As such a constitution is concerned with two main aspects the relation between the different levels of government and between the government and the citizens.

A constitution is the basic fundamental law of a State.

It lays down the objectives of the State which it has to achieve.

It also provides for the constitutional framework that is, various structures and organs of the governments at different levels.

In addition, it describes the rights and duties of the citizens.

It is, therefore, considered to be the basis for the governance of the country both in terms of goals and objectives as also their structures and functions.

The Constituent Assembly–

The Constitution of India was framed by the Constituent Assembly.

The Assembly was constituted in 1946.

The members of the Constituent Assembly were indirectly elected by the members of the existing Provincial Assemblies.

In addition, there were members nominated by the rulers of the Princely States.

With Independence of India, the Constituent Assembly became a fully sovereign body.

The Constituent Assembly, following the partition of the country in 1947, consisted of 299 members as on 31st December 1947.

Of these 229 members were elected by the provincial assemblies and the rest were nominated by the rulers of the princely states.

Majority of the members in the Constituent Assembly belonged to the Congress party.

All prominent leaders of the freedom movement were members of the Assembly.

Princely States –

 During the British Rule there were about 560 areas which were not directly under the control of the British.

These were Kingdoms or ‘Riyasats’ under Indian rulers or Princes. These were called ‘Princely States’.

Working of the Constituent Assembly–

The Constituent Assembly was chaired by the President of the Assembly Dr. Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President of the Assembly.

The Assembly worked with the help of a large number of committees and sub-committees.

The committees were of two types –

[1] relating to matters concerning with procedures, and

[2] concerning important issues.

In addition there was an Advisory Committee primarily advised from outside.

The most important committee was the Drafting Committee.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the Chairman of the Drafting Committee.

The task of the Committee was to prepare the draft of the Constitution.

The Constituent Assembly met for 166 days spread over a period of 2 years 11months and 18 days.

The procedure followed in the Assembly was Similar to that which is followed in legislature.

Objectives of the Constitution–

The Constitution of independent India was framed in the background of about 200 years of colonial rule, a mass-based freedom struggle, the national movement, partition of the country and spread of communal violence.

Amongst the members there were some who held different ideological views.

There were others who were inclined to socialist principles, still others holding Gandhian thinking but nothing could act as any kind of impediment in the progress of the Assembly’s work because all these members were of liberal ideas.

Their main aim was to give India a ‘Constitution’ which will fulfill the cherished ideas and ideals of the people of this country.

Conscious efforts were made to have consensus on different issues and principles and thereby avoid disagreement.

The consensus came in the form of the ‘Objectives Resolution’ moved by Jawahar Lal Nehru in the Constituent Assembly on December 17, 1946 which was almost unanimously adopted on January 22, 1947.

In the light of these ‘Objectives’ the Assembly completed its task by November 26, 1949.

The constitution was enforced with effect from January 26, 1950.

From that day India became a Republic.

Exactly twenty years before the first Independence Day was celebrated on Jan. 26, 1930 as decided by the Lahore session of the Congress on Dec. 31, 1929.

Hence, January 26, 1950 was decided as the day to enforce the constitution.


The Preamble

Salient Features of the Constitution of India